SIMI VALLEY -- If you successfully stop Dylan Garrity, chances are, you stop the Huntington Beach Edison boys' basketball team.
Using an effective box-in-one and a particularly stifling triangle defense, among others, Simi Valley did a relatively good job of containing the 6-foot senior point guard during Friday night's Southern Section Division 2AA second-round game.
In the end, however, Garrity did just enough, though it should be noted he had plenty of help along the way in a 53-43 road victory.
“We didn't want Garrity to get off and score a bunch of points against us, so we tried to cut off the head of the snake. It didn't work,'' Simi Valley coach Christian Aurand said. “I think we did what we wanted too and took him out of the game. The other guys made us pay, and sometimes in basketball, that kind of stuff happens. It's out of our control.''
All signs pointed to Edison (26-2) being in trouble given the that fact Garrity scored two points the first quarter. The bucket was rather dramatic though. He scored on a layup at the buzzer to extend the lead to 16-12 heading into the second quarter.
Jonathan Davis did his best to keep the score close early for the Pioneers (20-8). His two-handed dunk cut the deficit to 9-6 with 3:30 left in the first quarter. The George Washington-bound senior scored eight point in the first eight minutes of play.
Ultimately, it didn't matter as Kris Wolfe picked up the slack. The senior ended up scoring nine points by the time the first quarter had ended.
Shortly thereafter, Dreon Barlett got things going, in a hurry, and scored eight consecutive points to give the Chargers a 23-12 lead with 6:17 remaining in the first half. All told, the junior forward scored 11 of his 16 points in the second quarter.
“Every once in a while we need someone other than Dylan to make a play, both Kris and Dreon did that for us,'' Edison coach Rich Boyce said.
The Chargers lead ballooned to as many as 17 points in the second quarter. The Pioneers did manage to rally as Brandon Guillory made a layup and D.J. Saul knocked down a three-pointer. All of a sudden, Simi Valley trailed by 12 points at the break.
The Pioneers fed off the momentum as Davis opened the second half with a bank shot. Jesse Di Nonno and Austin Hawk followed with three-pointers. Before the Chargers knew it, their lead was a mere four points at the 5:12 mark of the third quarter.
Garrity answered, of course. His layup provided a calming presence for the Chargers, who took a 37-31 lead heading into the crucial fourth quarter.
Simi Valley battled and battled right until the final whistle as Davis hit a pair of free-throws to cut the lead down to 45-38 with 2:15 left in the game.
Unfortunately, the Pioneers didn't get any closer.
Garrity made several free throws down the stretch to help the Chargers keep their distance. In the end, he had 11 points, nine below his season's average.
“I didn't see anything, any defenses that is, that I haven't seen in the past,'' said Garrity, who had scouts from Fresno State and Pepperdine watching his every move from up in the stands. “When teams try to take me out of a game, like Simi Valley did, I just focus on other aspects of the game, like keeping my teammates involved in the flow of things.
“Kris and Dreon did a great job. They deserve a lot of the credit. The stepped up for us. I've got to give them some props, they got it done tonight.''
Wolfe and Barlett each finished with 16 points.
Davis ended up with 14 points, so did Hawk.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.